Patient Education: Significant Causes of Keratoconus

Keratoconus is a frustrating disease. It effects the lives of the patients significantly and understanding the cause can often help us understand the disease. Here are a few under laying causes of Keratoconus that can help you get started.

Genetics: Though genetics plays a part in keratoconus so does the environment. Keratoconus in a family typically effects more then one family member. The chances of keratoconus is higher in first degree relatives however it is unlikely that one will pass keratoconus to their children. There is only a 6% chance that the disease can be passed from parent to children. However there are precautions you can take to catch keratoconus in your children early. Treatments are available to help stop the progression of early keratoconus.

Generally at the ages of 8-10 a baseline mapping of the eyes or a Topography can be taken. Additional topography’s can be taken each year after to compare results. If changes are found steps to stop the progression can be made before the problem increases.

Free Radicals: Free radicals are the byproducts of the cell metabolism. Unfortunately most of our bodies tissues create byproducts and our bodies defend against them daily. There is a barrier or wall that protects against damage to your corneal fibers by the byproducts called anti-oxidants. Keratoconus develops because the anti-oxidants are not working properly to protect the cornea against the byproducts. The collagen fibers in the cornea are attacked by the byproducts breaking down the fibers like a hammer on a brick wall. As the fibers weaken you develop a bulge in the cornea that creates vision changes, and other complications.

Keratoconus generally develops slowly over time and if you are evaluated properly the damage can be minimal. It is important to find a doctor who is familiar with early stage keratoconus and obtain treatment before it gets too bad. With the new technologies and mapping you can keep ahead of the disease.

For more information about keratoconus visit Wikipedia

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